The Dance Of Indifference – 2 Weeks Of A Liberal NSW

Posted: May 20, 2011 in Politics

Winemakers Choice

It’s been just over two weeks since NSW had its first taste of a Liberal government in thirteen years.

Maybe having the election in year thirteen was bad luck for NSW, because by day thirteen under Liberal, we are already seeing what a mistake it was to let them take control of anything more complicated than opening an envelope.

One of the big changes that the Liberal govt were going to make, and have now made, was to appoint an independently chaired body, to make all the decisions on infrastructure.

This meant adding another level of bureaucracy in this decision-making process. But not to worry, at least they are totally independent. Last week they proved their independence by electing Nick Greiner as its chairman. You may remember Nick, he was the last Liberal Premier in NSW. Some would call this appointment “jobs for the boys”, to this government however, it`s called “independence”.

Anyhow, the purpose of this highly paid body is to make decisions on infrastructure projects. This includes giving them the green light, and deciding their priority, thus deciding in what order the projects are commenced.

But do not fear people. This is not just an opportunity to give the last NSW Lib Premier a big pay packet from the public purse. This body`s main purpose is to take the heat off the O`Farrell govt when they want to break some of their infrastructure promises. Something I’m sure we will be seeing rather soon.

There was however, one group of people who were quite literally partying at the prospect of the Liberal O`Farrell government coming into power.

Sydney Ferries staff held a party the night before the election. The party was a mock farewell party, as they were not sure who was going to get sacked once the Lib`s were in control. They thought best to have a party beforehand, just to make sure everybody had a chance to say goodbye to each other.

It seems they won`t have long to wait to find out. One of the first acts of the O`Farrell govt was to privatise Sydney Ferries, breaking an election promise within his first week.

But we are told that it isn`t privatised at all, it is just temporarily leased. The story goes something like this, the govt leases Sydney Ferries to a privately owned company, but the govt sets rules on the lessee, such as no cut down in service levels, and no price rises. So, if a private company can`t change prices or the service, I wonder what they will do to increase profits. Staff numbers, and workplace and public safety standards seem the obvious targets.

Earlier this week the new Liberal govt, showed how much respect it has for the states citizens, how much respect it has for environmental issues, and how much respect it has for its own promises, yet again.

Whilst under a Labor govt, NSW led the way in solar panel installations. The Keneally govt was committed to helping its citizens reduce both their power bills and their carbon footprint. The government entered legally binding contracts with the over 120,000 households that installed the solar panels to pay the owners 60c per Kilowatt of power that they put back into the grid. People across the state shelled out big money for big solar systems, safe in the knowledge that they had a government guarantee of a revenue stream to aid them with their solar system repayments.

Enter Barry O’Farrell. The Liberal government has taken it upon itself to dishonour its legal obligations, and has slashed the rebate to 40c per kilowatt. That’s a third off the government contract. Even though some within O’Farrell’s own party have protested this decision, these protests, as well as those from pensioners, and community groups, have been ignored.

There is hope however. Although not because the O’Farrell govt has come to its senses, but because there is now a class action in place to compensate those who have been, both left out of pocket, and deliberately misled by a Premier, who only weeks ago, was promising to honour the agreements.

One of the big promises that this govt made in its bid to get itself elected, was the commencement of the North West Rail Link. This project was unable to be started by the previous govt due to an agreement, put in place by Nick Greiner, with the owners of the M2. That agreement would involve a huge compensation payment for building competitive infrastructure.

This rail link, has taken funding away from the Western Express Line. The Liberal govt is also hoping to scrap the Parramatta/Epping rail link to help pay for this link.

One of the Liberal members who has been the most active in pushing for this rail link to be pushed ahead of these other projects in the Western Suburbs, is Ray Williams. Last week it was announced that Mr Williams has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary For Western Sydney.

The people of Western Sydney must wonder if this is meant to be a joke, or if they should just feel insulted, or if the O’Farrell govt is just plain taking the piss out of them. After all, this is the man who worked so hard to take funds and infrastructure from their area, only to have it re-allocated to his own electorate.

These have been just some of the debacles that have taken place in the less than three weeks the O’Farrell Liberal govt has been at the wheel. We still have at least three years left to dread. No doubt these will be long and painful years.

If you live in NSW, remember all of these things next election. If you don’t live in NSW, take note, this is the level of respect you can expect to see from the Liberal Party. This includes State and Local level, and of course at a Federal level also.

The Liberal Party were once considered the conservative party. They are now talking and behaving like a party of extremists.

It’s about time we pulled them into line.

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